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Groom 101

Rules of Engagement: A Guide to Engagement Parties

Chris Easter

Considering having an engagement party to celebrate the good news? Engagement parties are a great way to share your recent engagement and proposal story with your friends and family. Whether you’re trying to decide if an engagement party is right for you or if you’re looking for some helpful tips for throwing the event, this cheat sheet will help guide you through the process. 


An engagement party is a couple’s first chance to celebrate their decision to get married with their friends and family. Oftentimes, it can also give the bride’s and groom’s families a chance to formally meet each other, if they haven’t already done so.


While the bride’s family has traditionally been responsible for hosting the engagement party, it’s common today for the groom’s family, a combination of both families or even the engaged couple to throw the event. It’s also quite common for close friends of the couple to host the party or hold a small get-together.


An engagement party doesn’t have to be an all-out bash. It certainly can be a fancy affair, but it’s often a bit more casual gathering of family and close friends, such as dinner at a favorite restaurant or bar, a rented suite at a sporting event, a brunch at someone’s home or an afternoon BBQ in the hosts’ backyard. Gifts should be optional, but practical if given. The most important thing to remember is that the party should reflect the interests and style of the couple.


Engagement parties are typically held one to three months after the engagement, giving those hosting the party plenty of time to prepare. If you’re planning on a short engagement, it’s best to have the engagement party sooner rather than later to ensure that the engagement party doesn’t feel like an early wedding shower.


Immediate family, the bridal party and close friends are typically invited to the engagement party. Invites can also be extended further, but keep in mind that any guests who are invited to the engagement party should also receive a wedding invitation.

TMR Recommendation: Grooms, if you really want to impress your bride-to-be, plan a surprise party the night of your engagement. There’s no reason you can’t throw this party yourself!


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  • Margaret Gundry 2 years ago

    My question is regarding the wedding , my son is getting married , his daughter will by then be 18 yrs age , she is so dissapointed as she is not in the wedding party , brides friends and siblings are. Dad said she could be the ring bearer , too old for that , he apparently wants her to stand beside him . Any other suitable placement to make her feel included as at this time I am gutted too, as she is .

    • Kara Horner 2 years ago

      This can certainly be a delicate situation. Instead of being a bridesmaid, the groom’s daughter could serve as his best woman (this is actually becoming more common if the groom has a very close female friend) and stand beside him during the ceremony. Another option is to have her walk the flower girl and ring bearer down the aisle, giving her a prominent placement in the processional. Best of luck!


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